How YOU can improve the access pavement to the GWB.

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12 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

You turn left off Ft. Washington Ave., heading for the GWB, and you're on a wave of asphalt: depressions, uplifts, and, of course potholes.

Here's what you--what all of us--can (and should) do to get it resurfaced. Call 311. Tell the operator you want to make a complaint about a road surface. She'll take a moment to find the right form, mutter something about the DoT, then ask you to describe why you're calling.

Begin by telling the operator the street you're calling about is West 177th St. (it confuses the operator if you don't say West even though you may have already said the road needing resurfacing is in the area of the GWB and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital) between Ft. Washington and Cabrini. She'll ask you if Ft. Washington is an avenue, street, or road, as though it matters. Then she'll ask you if Cabrini is an avenue, street, or road, as though it matters. Then she'll ask you to spell Cabrini.

If you want, you can say it's worst between Pinehurst and Cabrini. You'll have to spell Pinehurst for her.

You will tell her the pavement undulates in a way that presents a hazard to the many bicyclists who use that road. She won't understand you. You'll say it's an elongated series of waves. She won't understand you. You'll say it has uplifts and depressions. She may not understand you. You'll say it is bumpy and filled with pot holes. She'll understand you.

She'll ask how long has it been this way. You answer: at least two years, probably more.

You underscore this presents a potential danger to the many bicyclists who use the road to get to the GWB.

She'll ask your name, phone number, e-address, then tell you you'll hear something in 90 days or the matter will be addressed in 90 days.

The point is, if enough of us do this--do it right after you read this--then the DoT will hear us. Will it look like an organized call-in? Answer: So what's wrong with that?

I did it Monday. Will you please do it today?

Anonymous's picture
esass (not verified)


Anonymous's picture
George Arcarola (not verified)

What a great idea Richard! I'm doing it right now, later I'll kick myself for not thinking of this before.


Anonymous's picture
Cat (not verified)

Unfortunately i did this (pretty much verbatim) about a year ago.

Look how much good it did.

But i did it again today, ever the optimist.

Thank you Richard for reminding us of alternatives to whining. Maybe en masse we can have some effect.

Anonymous's picture
Ivy (not verified)
She must be a real f-ing idiot!

Yes, 311 is an outstanding communications tool. However, without a staff of call center representatives taking calls and capturing data, it wouldn't be worth a damn.

Anonymous's picture
Natalia Lincoln (not verified)


Anonymous's picture
Mark Gelles (not verified)
Can also be done online

Go to
You will have to file two reports one from Pinehurst to Cabrini and another from Ft. Washington to Pinehurst. mention the word dnagerous or hazard. Thanks Richard!

Anonymous's picture
John Miller (not verified)

"Why not describe the conditions as a hazard to automobile traffic?

When you call 311, take the persona of a fast-n-furious Jersey boy racer, whose painstakingly modded and ultra-lowered late 90's Honda Civic had its ground effects shredded by the dips and mounds on 177. I mean, how are you supposed to cruise Washington Heights when you have to survive this off-road gauntlet just to get there? The machine gun-like impacts flatted your Z-rated tires, dented your five-star rims, scratched your chromed muffler and threw off all the wiring to your 14"" subwoofer. You had to limp back to Fort Lee with your license plate showering sparks behind you only to be the laughingstock of your auto club.

Threaten one hell of a civil claim and watch the steamroller jockeys get dispatched post haste.

John M."

Anonymous's picture
steve chabra (not verified)

or send iris weinshall a complaint at

that last block with the holes and partially-filled utility cut from cabrini to the entrance of the haven ave bike lane isn't so great either.

great idea, richard!

Anonymous's picture
Donald (not verified)
They get back to you so quickly!

Apparently, they looked at it and it's not a pothole, so they think it's over... Here's the response I got back:

Thank you for reporting a possible pothole problem. Our road maintenance crews have inspected the location and determined that the street defect in question is not a pothole. There are other kinds of street defects that have different causes than potholes and that require different types of corrective action. There are many types of street defect other than potholes; these include cave-ins, defective manhole covers and other types of faulty street equipment, failed street cuts and old utility cuts. You can visit our web site at where we provide examples of these types of problems. Please call 311 and the Call Center representative will assist you in reporting this problem. Thank you for your concern in this matter.

Anonymous's picture
betsy (not verified)
Same response

I reported this online and got the same response, twice, one for each block. Sigh.

Anonymous's picture
Ean Novélo (not verified)
Quick & Easy -- It's Done


Anonymous's picture
Ean Novélo (not verified)
Post DoT URL on NYCC Home Page?

Can the DoT URL be added to the NYCC Home Page? IMHO, many more people would report dangerous streets. It was easy. More important, the City of New York now has a liability if a cyclist gets injured on W177 Street. Could we also do something similar to improve the bike entrance to GWB?

cycling trips